Professors Researchers Technical Team Technical Team


Esteve Almirall, Ph.D.

Director of the Center for Innovation in Cities. Lecturer of the Department of Information Systems Management

Professor's website

Esteve Almirall holds a PhD in Management Sciences (ESADE), a MRes in Management Scienes, a MCIS, DEA and MRes in Artificial Intelligence (UPC). Moreover, Esteve has an MBA, a PDD from IESE a Diploma in Marketing from UC Berkeley and a GCPCL Diploma from Harvard B.S. His interests focus on Open Innovation, Innovation and artificial intelligence I tools that could foster innovation. He has published in various journals and conferences such as Academy of Management Review.

Most of his career has been devoted to Information Technologies, especially in consulting, banking and finances where he worked for more than 20 years in executive and board level positions in Information System, Organization and Marketing. As an entrepreneur he actively participated and founded several start-ups in the field. Esteve participated and coordinated a number of research projects around Innovation, Collaborative Environments, Social Networking and Recommender Systems. Now he is the coordinator of the European Open Cities project at the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Management at ESADE.

Ivanka Visnjik, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Operations Management and Innovation
Professor's website

 Ivanka is an Assistant Professor at ESADE Business School and a Research Sponsor at cambridge Service Alliance, University of Cambridge. Her research lies at the intersection of strategy, innovation and operations management and her focus is the emerging field of business model innovation. Her research studies how companies create value by shifting from product to service business models and proposes organizational solutions to the trade-offs associated with this shift. Furthermore, her studies demonstrate how the interplay between bsuiness model innovation and product innovation or different market strategies affects value creation.
Ivanka works closely with a number of global companies such as BAE Systems, Caterpillar, GEA, IBM, Pearson and Zoetis. Her PhD was commissioned by C-level management of a global equipment manufacturer, AtlasCopco. Prior to her academic career, Ivanka worked at McKinsey&Co, Where she specialized in product innovation strategies in the pharmaceutical industry and participated in a number of studies for top pharmaceutical firms.

Research associates

Pilar Conesa

Research associate at the Center for Innovation in Cities
Twitter: @PilarConesa
Pilar Conesa is a Smart City pioneer and an advocate of innovation in the successful transformation of businesses. She has held various executive management positions at ICT companies and public organizations for more than 20 years. Currently, she is the founder and CEO of anteverti, a consulting company that advises private companies, cities and public organizations in projects of transformation and change, focusing on Smart Cities and OpenGovernment. Furthermore, she is the Congress Director of Smart City Expo World Congress, the world referent event. She is the former CIO of the Barcelona City Council.
Other previous positions include T-Systems’ Vice President for Public Administration and Health, CEO of AIS Chile, and executive positions at Catalan Government’s ICT Services and Barcelona’92 Olympic Games organization committee. Pilar Conesa is a member of several Advisory Boards: ITC Catalan Government, International Graduate Institute at Open University (UOC), Polytechnic University Alumni (UPC-Barcelona Tech). She holds a BA in Computer Science from UPC-Barcelona Tech and completed Executive Business Programs at IESE Business School and at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT).

Francesca Bria

Research associate at the Center for Innovation in Cities
Twitter: @francesca_bria
Francesca is a a senior expert and advisor on digital strategy, technology and information policy. She is a Researcher and Teaching Associate at Imperial College Business School in the Innovation Studies Centre- Digital Economy Lab.
She has a background in social science and innovation economics, a PhD from Imperial College, and an MSc in E-business and Innovation from the University College of London, Birkbeck.
Francesca is a member of the Internet of Things Council and an advisor for the European Commission on Future Internet and Smart Cities policy. She is also a member of the EC Expert Group on Open Innovation (OISPG) and a member of the European Research Cluster on the Internet of Things (IERC).
Francesca has been advising a variety of organisations and public institutions on innovation policy, open technology, the Internet of Things and smart cities.
She is also active in various innovation movements advocating for open access, open technologies and digital rights

Sabine Brunswicker, Ph.D.

Research associate at the Center for Innovation in Cities 
: @sabinebrunswick
Dr. Sabine Brunswicker is an internationally recognized innovation researcher and thought leader with a particular interest in open innovation and ecosystems. She is an Associate Professor for Innovation and Scientific Director of the Research Center for Open Digital Innovation at Purdue University and serves as Strategic Advisor Open Innovation at the Fraunhofer Society. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Innovation and Knowledge Management Institute (IIK) at Esade Business School.
Sabine’s general research interests lie in understanding collaborative models of innovation and value creation in today’s global and digital economy. Today, Sabine is highly interested in how information and communication technologies afford new modes and outcomes of innovation and value creation. In particular, she studies the socio-technical design of digital innovation ecosystems and related emerging innovation architectures, smart services, products, and business models. Overall, her research is inspired by real world phenomena and informs both academics as well as practitioners. She has published in academic journals and business press.
Throughout her career Sabine has been contributing to the innovation landscape through various engagements with governments, firms, non-profits, entrepreneurs and citizens. For example, Sabine was one of the founders of IMP³rove, an international initiative of innovation management in SMEs and has been instrumental in European standardization and accreditation activities related to innovation management. Today, she is a member of the Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group (OISPG) of DG Connect, and holds further advisory and jury positions in the private and public sector. Due to action-oriented research for the real world, she has managed to establish relationships with industry partners – both large multinationals such as SAP or Porsche and smaller hidden champions – in joint action research projects and strategic partnerships.
Sabine holds a Master in Engineering and Management Science (dual degree), a Master of Commerce with a specialization in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and a Doctorate of Engineering in the area of innovation management.

Research assistants

Melissa J. Lee, Ph.D. Candidate

Research assistant at the Center for Innovation in Cities

Melissa is doing her first year Master of Research courses at ESADE. Her research interests include Open Innovation, business ecosystems, and innovation in the public sector.